What Is the Average Pay for a Computer Programming Masters Degree?

Graduate-level training in computer programming is most commonly offered through master's degree programs in computer science or software engineering. A master's degree can be a strong advantage when trying to secure a job in this rapidly growing field.

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The average salary for individuals with computer programming-related master's degrees vary by degree and job title. Relevant master's degrees are available in both software engineering and computer science, both of which cover topics in computer programming.

Salary Ranges for People with Computer-related Master's Degrees

Master's Degree in Software Engineering Salary

According to Payscale.com data from July 2016, the median salary for individuals who hold a master's degree in software engineering ranges from $60,306 to $84,500.

Master's Degree in Computer Science Salary

Payscale.com also provides salary information for individuals who hold a master's degree in computer science, based on data from April 2017. For these professionals, salary varies widely, depending on job title:

  • Software engineers earn between $59,598 and $123,046.
  • Senior software engineers earn between $84,765 and $134,104.
  • Software developers earn between $53,594 and $132,056.
  • The average salary for senior software engineers/developers/programmers is $106,920.
  • For senior software architects, the average annual salary is $140,000.
  • Principal software engineers make $121,615 per year.
  • Software development engineers make an average of $114,882.

Master's Degree Programs

Individuals who want to study computer programming typically earn a master's degree in either computer science of software engineering:

Master's Degree in Computer Science

A master's degree program in computer science teaches students computer theory, algorithms and programming, and it provides students with a comprehensive foundation to further grow and adapt to new technologies. Computer scientists design software and develop solutions to computing problems. They may take many computer programming-related courses, including:

  • Java programming
  • C programming
  • C++ programming
  • Swift programming
  • Functional programming

Master's Degree in Software Engineering

Software engineers design and maintain software programs and systems, such as network control systems, operating systems, business applications and computer games. Master's degree programs in software engineering have many courses in common with computer science programs; however, software engineering programs focus more heavily on software development, reliability and maintenance. Some of the programming-related courses they might take cover topics like:

  • Writing fast code
  • Evolutionary algorithms
  • Applied stochastic processes
  • Software verification and testing

By earning a master's degree in computer science or software engineering, individuals can gain the computer programming skills they need for jobs that have a variety of different salaries.

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